Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Roadtrips East and West

Sorry for the silence yesterday. I was at an offsite conference all day and was too tired to blog last night. It was a good conference with interesting classes about interpersonal communication, and I can use all the help I can get with that topic! We did a lot of small-group interactive stuff, so it was a fun way to spend the day, plus they fed us very well. In the evening Travalon and I sat out on our dock to enjoy the beautiful evening, and I meant to blog at some point but was just too wiped out.

Travalon and I went on two road trips this weekend. On the first one on Saturday we went east, to High Cliff State Park overlooking Lake Winnebago. It was a gorgeous day, more like July than April, and the place was packed. After a hike on the cliff there, we went to Calumet County Park and then had a late lunch at Mud Creek Coffee in Stockbridge. We drove through Chilton, and the abandoned church there is now an antiques store so it isn’t neglected anymore. We stopped by another closed church, this one being used as a museum, and a woman there told us about how bitter people are that the diocese closed all these churches and makes them go to a big, modern church. This topic deserves its own blog post at some point, but suffice it to say that people are NOT going to the big, new church so it is suffering financially. Our main destination was Holy Resurrection Monastery in St. Nazianz, an Eastern Rite Catholic monastery where ten monks live. Our own parish went on a pilgrimage there in February, but we couldn’t go, so Travalon promised we could go on our own sometime. The monks weren’t expecting us, but one graciously took us on a tour. Now I really want to make a retreat there. In the same town is the old school complex where the state’s high scorer in basketball went, so we checked that out as well. Now the only part in use is the old gymnasium, which is currently a thrift store. The high school, church, and various other buildings are shuttered. Our next stop was the Black Dog Bistro in Rhine Center, another tavern from the book. A sign (which I took a picture of) claims it is “the friendliest place in town,” which is no doubt true as it appears to be the ONLY place in town. It was a beautiful old building, and the people were indeed friendly. After that we went to Kohler-Andrae State Park outside of Sheboygan and took Rodney on a long walk along the beach until we reached the end of the area where dogs are allowed, then we went up on the cordwalk along the sand dunes. I took lots of photos, which I will post soon. Our last stop was Port Washington, where we went to a park overlooking the town and harbor and then ate a late dinner at a restaurant on the water.

Sunday we headed southwest to one of the few state parks Travalon had never visited, Yellowstone Lake. We took a winding, hilly road through the Driftless Area to the charming town of Blanchardville, then we continued on to the park, which is not only gorgeous but was not at all crowded on such a perfect day. We visited the dam and hiked up in the hills and took Rodney down to the dog beach. On the way back home we stopped in New Glarus, always a fun place, for an early dinner, and then we stopped in Paoli. It had been crazy there earlier because it was the first birthday of the Hop Garden; there were still some people around when we got there, and the ice cream shop had sold out of everything but a couple scoops of ice cream, which we then bought from them. Then we sat out behind the Hop Garden and had some kombucha, which is apparently brewed on Park Street, since the Hop Garden’s beer is more potent than what we were in the mood for that evening. Now they sell hops-scented air fresheners there, if any of my readers would like their car or house to smell like fresh-brewed beer. We did not purchase one ourselves, but Travalon was wearing the hat he had gotten there, which says: “Warning: high hoppage.” Of course, he wears it every day. It is one cool hat. After we got home, we sat out on the dock to enjoy the perfect weather just a little longer. Good thing we did – today is cold and rainy. Of course, this is a little more seasonal for mid-April.

Famous Hat

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